Monday, 26 August 2013

How to go paleo.

So, it's been a year since we decided to go paleo and I thought I would give you a brief overview of my personal findings and my guide for how to go about it if you are thinking of making some changes.

Firstly, a disclaimer.

What I am advocating ultimately is not paleo – it is a version of paleo that is based on our own response to foods and common sense.

I have not chosen for my family and I to eat like this because I necessarily buy into the idea that this is how our ancestors ate and that we are not evolved to eat modern food.  In fact, people wishing to debunk paleo often cite the fact that there are many people who have extra copies of genes for digesting the starch in grains (which does suggest that there are also those who don't) and populations of people have independently developed the ability to digest lactose, found in milk, as an adult (again this means there are those who are therefore lactose intolerant.)  

I like my version of paleo because it makes sense

No processed foods.  No sugar.  Maintaining blood glucose and therefore moods by eliminating starchy carbs and not eating the foods I never liked anyway all seems like bloody good common sense to me!

Why did we choose to follow paleo?

We initially chose for our family to follow the paleo way because it is a great set of rules that stops us eating processed food, sugar and wheat, which are all, as far as the research I have done, reckoned to be major causes of many modern ills, from high blood pressure and coronary heart disease to diabetes and joint problems etc.  I am also happy to cut out most of the other things paleo prescribes, like the other starchy carbs that are left once wheat cuts out pasta, bread, cakes and pastry: like potatoes, rice, oats, quinoa etc., and beans and dairy, which I never liked anyway.

So basically, I like paleo because it enables us to eat as much as we like, pretty much when we like and not really put on weight as long as it’s within the confines of paleo.  It gives me structure and control and the benefits so easily outweigh any treats I might miss.

By the way, at the beginning of our journey into paleo, obviously I did really miss the sweet treats and felt like I didn’t want to deny the kids, so I spent a lot of time developing paleo alternatives to cakes and pies and bread.  We have relied on these less and less as the year has progressed.  We still make the odd batch of paleo cakes and we still like paleo pancakes at the weekend. 

I also like paleo becasue it's not just about the nutrition - it's about the lifestyle.  it's about getting out more, it's about being active and doing exercise.  I am not sporty - I'm not a team player (!) so I like to go to the gym - obviously hiking, climbing, playing netball and football etc are more sociable and meaningful ways of keeping fit but personally, I like to lift weights.  My kids go to CrossFit and we like to do CrossFit type workouts at home in my garage gym.

So how did we start?

The impetus to our whole fitness journey came a few months before my 40th birthday, 2 years ago, when my husband asked me what I would like for a present.  My husband was about 30lb heavier then than he is now.  I said, ‘I’d like a buff husband.’
             He laughed.
            I said, ‘No, really.  One way or another, I shall have my buff husband!  It could be you or…’
            So, he started watching what he ate, he did some exercise and lost 30lb for me!  I watched what he was doing with the weights and listened to what he said about nutrition and caught the bug myself, within 6 months I had ditched the desire to go back to primary school teaching and I was retraining to be a Personal Trainer, had cut out wheat and sugar and we both felt better than we ever had!

After a while, my husband came home and said he thought we should go paleo.  We read a couple of books and did a load of research online and at the beginning of the summer holidays last year, we changed everything.

How did we make the initial change?

We had already cut out wheat and sugar and all starchy carbs, apart from oats, for about a year by the time we decided to cut the rest so it wasn’t an enormous step to go the whole hog (bacon jokes may follow.) 

The hardest issue to overcome was breakfasts (have a look here for some ideas) and lunches (have a look here for some ideas).  We have been programmed to think that breakfast should come in a bowl with milk and lunch between 2 slices of bread.  With no grains or dairy, that cut breakfast cereals and no bread meant no sandwiches.

 We decided to take the plunge at the beginning of the summer holidays to make it easier on me to come up with new breakfasts and lunches, 6 weeks was also a long enough time, I figured, to see any benefits before we made a decision to keep it up or not once the kids went back to school in September.

Here are the steps I would recommend – move onto the next step once the previous step is secure, this way, you don’t bite off more than you can chew, as it were.

1               Cut sugar and sugar substitutes
Check packaging on savoury products as well as sweet!
2               Cut wheat
Bread, cakes, pies, pasties, pasta, pastry, biscuits, some sauces
3               Cut starchy carbs
Potatoes, rice, oats, quinoa, corn
4               Cut dairy
Milk, cheese, yoghurt
5               Cut alcohol
A little red wine and tequila occasionally, apparently….
6               Cut legumes
Beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas

Basically, this is what you are encouraged to eat:

Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.

This is what you are discouraged from eating:

1               Sugar and sugar substitutes
Because it causes a spike in blood glucose and can eventually lead to insulin resistance and diabetes
2               Grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn etc.)
Because potentially we are not properly evolved to digest them but also because they are inflammatory and can contribute to aching joints and also cause a spike in blood glucose making it harder to regulate moods.
3               Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers (capsicums) aubergine (eggplant)
Because they can cause an alkaline sensitive response, with some problems arising with digestive function, nerve-muscle function and joint function. 
4               Alcohol
Because it is very high in calories with zero nutritional content and is often mixed with less than optimal drinks.  It also triggers a hormonal response that has a knock-on effect to other hormone functions.
5               Legumes (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas etc)
Because legumes are a modern creation and therefore we are potentially not evolved to digest them properly – people often have difficulty digesting these foods, leading to bloating and, well, farting and they can lead to autoimmune problems
6               Dairy
Because no mammal consumes milk once they are weaned and rarely consumes the milk of another animal.  Causes blood glucose spikes.

Cutting legumes, grains and dairy makes it very hard for vegetarians and vegans to follow paleo as their only remaining source of protein is meat, fish and eggs.

Have we stuck to these rules rigidly?

The basic answer is no.  Most paleo people say they 80% paleo 100% of the time.  As an adult, in charge of the shopping, I aim to be 100% paleo, 90% of the time and pretty much achieve that on the whole – but I am not a saint – I do eat the odd snickers bar and I have been know to inhale cupcakes whole!  I would say my kids are 80% paleo 80% of the time, which is a good compromise, I think.

How have we have changed these prescriptions to fit our family?

The kids do eat a little dairy every so often – some hard cheese and a little milk occasionally but definitely not daily.

We have reintroduced green beans and sugar snap peas occasionally but still stay clear of tinned beans, kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas. 

The kids begged me to reintroduce porridge as they miss it so much so once a week I give them porridge made with milk and sometimes my husband makes Daddy pancakes, which are made with cottage cheese, eggs and oats.

What was the hardest part?

Breakfasts, without a doubt.  It was made easier by not having to rush in the mornings by starting the new lifestyle in the holidays. 

Before, I would make porridge for the kids or they would have sugar free Alpen or Raisin Wheats in the mornings – all lovely, quick meals and pretty good as they didn’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Going from a 5 minute meal to cooking eggs or pork or lamb chops or salmon for breakfast was a big step.  It meant leaving half an hour to prepare the protein and chop the veggies and fruit that went with it, along with making the packed lunches. 

So generally mornings consist of me cooking two forms of protein, one for breakfast for 4 of us (husband has already left for work – he has a great subsidised restaurant at work where he can ask for eggs or steak etc!) and enough carbohydrates in the form of raw vegetables, generally, but sometimes cooked broccoli or asparagus or something and similar for lunch for three kids.

As I shop once every two weeks for meat from Paleo Wales - a grass fed meat supplier, I have to keep my meat in the freezer, which means I have to make sure I’ve got tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch and dinner out the night before.  This is why I plan my meals and snacks so carefully.  It takes the panic away.  I look on the chart and take it out the freezer before I go to bed and cook it the next day.

It’s a lot more work than we were doing previously but my kids are really helpful and totally on board and they really love the breakfasts, which range from piri piri chicken and veg or Thai spiced salmon and veg to home made beef burgers in lettuce wraps or paleo banana pancakes with dark chocolate sauce!  That’s got to be better than cocoa pops, no?

They initially received some comments from the other kids at school about their packed lunches, which really worried me as I was not a strong child and that sort of thing would have crushed me. When I asked my kids if it bothered them, they said no, they liked their lunches and they knew what they were eating was healthier than what the kids making the comments were eating anyway.  They also seemed to appreciate that the comments were half made in a teasing way but that also the other kids seemed genuinely interested in what they were eating.  I often get mums coming up to me saying their kids go home and say, ‘Guess what Liv had in her packed lunch today!’  I don’t take this as a bad thing…

There are loads of online resources to help you, Mark's Daily Apple is a great website with loads of info and his book, The Primal Blueprint, is a good place to start.

There is a subtle difference between paleo and primal, in that primal folk eat a little dairy – butter and hard cheese.

What are my kitchen staples?

Coconut oil, creamed coconut
Meat and fish
I keep some nuts and ground almonds and some seeds and dried fruit
Piri piri spice jar
Thai spice jar
Salt and pepper

By the way – I am NOT a great cook, ask anyone who knows me but after a while, the true flavours of real food shine through and once you are over your carb and sugar addiction raw veg and basically cooked meats and fish are so much nicer than they used to be!

This summer,  a number of my clients who have given up sugar and myself noticed how lovely and sweet the strawberries were this year.  Normally they would be inedible unless smothered in sugar!

Give it two or three weeks and your sugar craving will go and you will begin to really taste the foods you used to think bland, tasteless or sour.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Plan-K - 1 workout (or walk) 2 changes, 3 weeks - stop trying not to be fat and get fit instead!

On the back of understanding (see my previous post) that you can be fat and still be fit, I have decided to make a few minor changes to my nutrition counselling.

I already promote the desire to be fit and healthy for life, by making sustainable changes that you can live with forever rather than a 6 week, quick fix, doomed-to-failure diet.

I already promote good nutrition and healthy, real foods rather than calorie counting, with the idea that eating nutritious, healthy, non-processed foods will make you feel physically better, increase your energy levels and as a side effect, will drop you down or bring you up to your natural healthy weight without feeling hungry, miserable or stressed about it.

However, I still have clients whose main goal is to lose weight rather than become fit and healthy, so they still meet me each week to discuss everything and weigh in.

I think my clients and I need to have a rethink about what our goals are.  So...

I am going to throw away my scales.  

If your goals are to be fit and healthy, if you hate the tabloid media portrayal of women and despise magazines' blatant and pervasive digital remastering of perfectly normal, dimply, rounded, curvy, non-airbrushed women, if you want to truly value yourself and your achievements and want to get off the treadmill of trying forever, pointlessly and demoralisingly to be thin, then you have come to the right place!

Let's stop buying into the billion dollar diet industry's disgusting, prescriptive, perverted idea of what women should look like and stop caring about our size and start caring about our health!
Let's make that pact to change our desires to be not fat into a desire to be fit!

If you eat well, nourishing your body with genuine nutrients, avoiding processed, fake foods and you exercise so that you increase your lung capacity, lower your resting heart rate, develop your flexibility, strength and power it will: CHANGE.  YOUR.  LIFE! 

We all know that what we look like has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the sort of mother, daughter, friend, brother, uncle, granny, wife or work colleague we are!

Being thin doesn't make us happy.

Here's what does make us happy:
  • feeling proud of ourselves - for being able to do something today that we couldn't do yesterday, for learning something that we didn't know last week or for overcoming obstacles be they mountain or pebble sized.
  • Helping others - being a positive and supportive force and a good person who doesn't ever make anyone feel ashamed, embarrassed or miserable for being too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too dark, too light, bald, goofy, one legged, male, female, French, German, black, green, get the picture. 
  • Appreciating what we have rather than focusing on what we don't have.
These things make us happy.  Being thin doesn't.

So here's my plan to help you achieve that happiness.  

Try this:


do 1 workout (or walk)
make 2 changes 
for 3 weeks 

and notice the changes!
  1. Do 1 workout every day from the ones listed at the end of this post or just walk fast for at least half an hour every day.
  2. Make 2 changes: cut all sugar and cut all wheat.
  3. Do it for 3 weeks.  Keep it up, very strictly, for 3 weeks.
As the weeks progress, note the changes that you experience.

Here's why:

Doing 1 workout each day will teach you new things and you will develop a fitness you didn't know you could have so quickly and will feel genuine strength, power and pride.  Each workout will leave you tired but weirdly energised.  Going for a walk where you end up hot, sweaty and out of breath is just as good. This really will make you happy.

Making the 1st of the 2 changes by cutting all sugar is the best thing you can do for your metabolism and health.  Be careful though, it's not as simple as just cutting out the white stuff you add to things; it means no conventional sweets, cakes, puddings and chocolate, of course, but also check the ingredients lists in savoury foods for added sugar.  Cooked chicken breasts have added sugar, tomato sauces have added sugar, microwave meals have added sugar.  (Have a look at my paleo recipes section for sugar-free, wheat-free treats.)

These are the words you are looking to avoid:

Anything ending in -ose, any sort of syrup, anything with corn or cane in the name, concentrated fruit juice, dextrin and maltodextrin.

Cutting sugar will regulate your blood glucose levels and even out your moods.  It will help find the joy in tasting real foods properly.  This really will make you happy.

Making the 2nd of the 2 changes by cutting all wheat stops you eating all the really unhealthy fats without having to actually cut fat in your diet at all.  Natural fat is genuinely good.  It fills you up. Bacon fat, chicken skin, lard, coconut oil and butter (NOT margarine) are all good, the fats that are mixed with flour are bad!  On top of that, a lot of people have an inflammatory response to wheat and so get bloating after bread and pasta and cakes etc.  Wheat can also contribute to aching joints.  Getting rid of bloating, indigestion and aching joints will improve how you feel in yourself.  This really will make you happy.

Doing this for 3 weeks is enough time to see real changes, if you are honest and strict.  It's also long enough to lose your sweet tooth.  It is long enough to kick start a new healthier way of living, to begin building healthier habits that might just stick - new healthy habits that make you feel well, fit and proud. This really will make you happy.

So what are you waiting for?  Give it a go.  
Think about it, prepare yourself and then do it!  
Change your life with 3 really simple steps!

A few tips and helpful hints:
  • You are going to have to adjust what you see as normal breakfasts and lunches.  We have been programmed in he UK and US and increasingly European countries and around the world to believe that breakfast comes in a bowl with milk and lunch comes between two slices of bread. But this needn't bee the case.  If you are going to cut sugar and wheat, you are going to have to seriously adjust this view.
  • Try to think of protein as the basis of each meal rather than starchy carbs.  Think meat, fish, eggs, greek yoghurt, cottage cheese and milk.  Have a look at my paleo recipe section for some ideas and google paleo breakfasts for some ideas that will help.  This doesn't mean you have to become paleo, just that you might find these resources useful.
  • Up your intake of vegetables to counteract your reduction in sugar and wheat.
  • If you feel a desperate desire for something sweet try having a small spoonful of honey or a couple of squares of very dark chocolate (not milk or white).  

The Workouts:

For examples of how to do each exercise, look at the exercise videos section or find examples on YouTube

Workout 1

  • Beginners:
10 wall or knee press ups
10 lunges - each leg
10 squats
10 supermans
10 scissor kicks - feet almost upright

  • Intermediates:
10 press ups
20 lunges - each leg
30 squats
40 supermans
50 scissor kicks - feet 12 inches off the floor

  • Advanced:
10 decline press
20 split squats - each leg
30 arse to grass squats
40 supermans
50 scissor kicks - feet 2 inches off the floor

Workout 2

  • Beginners:
1 minute skipping
30 seconds wall or knee press ups
1 minute squats
30 seconds plank
1 minute squats
30 seconds ankle touches
1 minute skipping

  • Intermediates:
2 minutes skipping
1 minute press ups
30 second squat 10 second rest x 3
1 minute plank
30 second squat 10 second rest x 3
1 minute ankle touches
2 minutes skipping

  • Advanced:
4 minutes skipping
2 minute press ups
30 second arse to grass squat 10 second rest x 5
90 second plank
30 second squat 10 second rest x 5
90 second ankle touches
4 minutes skipping

Workout 3

  • Beginners:
1 minute jump squats
30 second mountain climbers
30 second wall or knee press ups
30 second supermans with arms to the side
30 second v-sit
1 minute walking lunges

  • Intermediates:
1 minute jump squats
1 minute mountain climbers
1 minute press ups
1 minute supermans with arms to the side
1 minute v-sit
1 minute walking lunges

  • Advanced:
90 second jump squats
90 second mountain climbers
2 minute press ups
2 minute supermans with arms to the side
2 minute v-sit
90 second walking lunges

Workout 5

  • Beginners:
5 wall or knee press ups
5 squats
5 lunges each leg
5 supermans hands by your sides
5 ab curls

  • Intermediates:
10 press ups
10 squats
10 lunges each leg
10 supermans hands by your sides
10 ab curls

  • Advanced:
15 decline press ups
15 sarse to grass quats
15 lunges each leg
15 supermans hands by your sides
15 ab curls

Workout 6

  • Beginners:
1 minute jump squats
10 wall or knee press ups
1 minute jog on the spot
10 squats
1 minute jog on the spot
10 supermans
1 minute jog on the spot
10 Russian twists
1 minute jump squats

  • Intermediates:
90 second jump squats
20 pressups
1 minute jog on the spot
20 squats
1 minute jog on the spot
20 supermans
1 minute jog on the spot
20 Russian twists
90 seconds minute jump squats

  • Advanced:
2 minutes jump squats
30 press ups
1 minute jog on the spot
30 arse to grass squats
1 minute jog on the spot
30 supermans
1 minute jog on the spot
30 Russian twists
2 minutes jump squats

Workout 7

  • Beginners:
5 wall or knee press ups

5 walking lunges
5 squats
5 supermans
25 scissor kicks feet almost upright
x 2 - time yourself and try to do it quicker next time

  • Intermediates:
10 press ups

10 walking lunges
10 squats
10 supermans
50 scissor kicks feet 12 inches off the floor
x 3 - time yourself and try to do it quicker next time

  • Advanced:
10 decline press

20 split squats
20 arse to grass squats
20 supermans
75 scissor kicks feet 2 inches off the floor
x 3 - time yourself and try to do it quicker next time

Pick one of these workouts each day.  As soon as they become easy, either increase the time or reps or move onto the next level.  If the advanced is too easy, try doing the sets through several times or add some weights when you squat and lunge and or slow the exercises down.  If you need to rest at any point, of course you must but try to push yourself as much as you can.  If at any point something hurts more than a muscle burn from hard work, stop.  If the pain doesn't go away, don't continue.

If after 3 weeks you find you've got the bug, which is highly likely, then there are lots of workouts on this blog to keep you going until you get really serious, after which you may have to get a Personal Trainer, join a gym or class, get your own equipment or scour the internet for more!

If you suffer from high blood pressure, have pains in your chest ever, joint problems, are on medication, are pregnant, have a baby under 6 months old or have been told by your doctor not to partake in exercise, you should check with your doctor before suddenly beginning a new exercise regime.

I will try to get the remaining videos for these exercises up on the blog this week; there are some already.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Sod slim! Get fit! Who is responsible for our body image?

I was brought up in a very liberal household.  The live-and-let-live attitude I grew up with has developed itself in adulthood as a universal view of the world.  We are not separate nationalities but Earthlings, we are not separate genders or colours but humans.  What we look like on the outside is less important than what we are like on the inside. 

I would never judge someone on how they look. 

Neither would I expect to be judged on how I look. 

But I do and I am!

To my shame, I make assumptions about people based on their appearances all the time; sometimes these turn out to be bang on and then I get to be all self-righteous and other times I am totally wrong. 

The media portrayal of fat people is less than kind.  We are bombarded regularly with images of airbrushed women, their normal, natural curves, dimples and rolls airbrushed out.  We watch endless programmes on the telly about fat people getting thin and dressing up in clothes and hair and makeup their self-esteem denied them when fat.  We read endless stories in magazines and newspapers about celebrities’ battles with the bulge.  No wonder we look in the mirror and pinch bits and close our eyes in despair. 

When I see someone fat (let’s not go into all my other quick judgements of people) before my conscious, self-proclaimed liberal mind has a chance to step in and say the right thing, I have already made several ill-informed assumptions. 

I suspect I’m not the only person who does this.

I also suspect women may be worse than men in this respect. 

But hold on a minute.

I see no lack of married fat women. In fact, I regularly hear many men proclaim their dislike of skinny women and their eagerness for ‘something to hold onto’!  So who is perpetuating this myth that the only attractive fat women in the word are Beth Ditto, Adele and Dawn French?

Could it be women?

Could we be our own worst enemies?

I’m sorry to say it but sometimes women are just not very nice.  You know the look-you-up-and-down-eyebrows-raised look from another passing woman?  I’ve done it myself (without meaning to, of course; I’m liberal-minded.)  Women dress to impress other women – most men haven’t got a clue what you are wearing, generally if they can see boobs, legs or bum, regardless of size, they are happy – women judge each other much more harshly than men judge us.

Could women really be responsible for the poor body image of millions of other women around the globe? 

Arguably, one of the greatest achievements of 21st century living is having more free time (in the first world – obesity is most definitely NOT a third world problem although it is spreading to developing countries fast).  We embrace technological progress and anything that saves us time.  We can have it all.  21st century living tells us we are worth it; we can have what we want, when we want, 24/7/365 if we want.  We can communicate around the world in the blink of an eye.  We can travel around the world in less time than it takes to marinate and slow cook a pulled pork joint. 

And then ‘having it all’ somehow morphs into ‘eating it all’.

It’s virtually impossible, in 2013, not to put on weight.  Omnipresent advertising and effortless availability of cheap, calorie-dense, nutritionally vacant ‘foods’ makes it increasingly difficult not to put on weight.

Anything worth having has to be hard for others to get or it loses value.  And in this age of plenty (for the first world at any rate) being fat is in abundance.  Therefore, being slim, against the odds, is something to be strived for; it’s a status symbol. 

Being slim implies you can afford expensive, fresh ingredients; that you have the time and education to cook from scratch.  It implies you can afford a personal trainer or gym membership or fancy running shoes.  It hints at money like a tan used to.

But this isn’t the problem.  The problem is millions of women with low self-esteem because they aren’t thin.  The problem is millions of women struggling with what they eat through a lack of education, deep-rooted psychological issues, the way they were brought up and their financial position because they don’t like their bodies.  Not because they want to be healthy.

We need to change this!

We need to turn it from an aesthetic problem into a health crisis.  Millions of women are at a heightened risk of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancers, strokes and joint problems way before they reach old age but they are worried about what their bum looks like in that skirt!

Look, the yardstick I use to judge other people (rightly or wrongly) is determined by the things that I value.  Not by the things YOU value!  What I think of as important and therefore how I view others is meaningless to anyone but me. 

The ONLY reason you should consider losing weight is to be healthy to make YOUR life easier and better and more comfortable and more flourishing.  Not to please anyone else because what anyone else thinks about you is based solely on what they think of themselves!

Lets make a pact. 

Let’s stop beating each other up. 

Even in the 21st century I am having to teach my children about feminism because there is still a need for it.  There are still plenty of inequalities to fight against so why, when we still have men to contend with, would we turn on each other?

Here is a final snippet of info you might like.
You are far less likely to die early of obesity related disease if you are a fit fat person than if you are an unfit thin person.

So stop wanting to be thin and start wanting to be fit and healthy!

Cut flour and sugar.  Stop eating quick, easy, processed, convenience food, start planning your meals more carefully and go for a walk. 

Walk.  Just that.  For an hour a day. 

(If you can’t find an hour a day, might I suggest you free up some time by ditching the pointless, life-wasting task of ironing?)

So, women:  Sod slim!  Get fit!  Get confident!  Stand up for yourself!  Value yourself and your achievements and look after all the other women – they totally get you, if you’ll let them!

Live and let live, humans of Earth!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

How was the food on your holiday?

How many of you put on weight on your holidays?

How many of you have spent months learning how to eat healthily, retraining yourselves to manage your nutrition only to decide it doesn't matter while you're on holiday?

It doesn't have to be that way!

We decided a year ago, as a family, to eat paleo.  We cut out wheat, sugar, starchy carbs, dairy, legumes and processed food.

We eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

This has changed our lives.

We could have gone on holiday and reverted to norm and feasted on easy quick foods: pizza and ice cream, croissants and bocadillos and beer and crisps and puddings.  We made a decision before we went to enjoy ourselves but to try to stick to plan as much as possible.

We stayed with my lovely mother-in-law and her equally lovely partner so we were able to cook for ourselves and our hosts were really accommodating when they cooked for us and made sure all the meals they provided were paleo!  I appreciate not everyone is going to be this lucky on holiday.

The most important thing we did in order to maintain our paleo ways as much as possible was to plan our meals, breakfast lunch and dinner and to make an effort when eating out to try to choose paleo options.

Now, I'm not saying no profiteroles, ice cream or chocolate was consumed but we did keep it to a minimum.  One of the major shifts was alcohol.  I managed just one sangria all holiday and only drank sparkling water the rest of the time.  My husband had a few glasses of wine but no more than one or two with his evening meal.  The kids, unfortunately, did have the odd coka and limonada.

The rule for the kids is that they eat paleo the vast majority of the time when I am in charge of the meals but they can choose what they want when we eat out - this is to try to avoid them going crazy when they are older and food is up to them - we'll just have to wait and see how that turns out!

Anyway, here are some of the things we ate while in Calpe this summer.


Made with creamed coconut, eggs, grated lemon zest, ground almonds and sultanas.
parma ham, egg, cucumber and watermelon
Bacon and eggs with pepper and watermelon

post-run breakfast in the seafront restaurant - French omelette with bacon and salad

banana pancakes with berry compote and pineapple

Paleo cookies made with creamed coconut, ground almonds, egg and chocolate chips - with coconut milk - paleo cereal to keep the kids happy.

mashed banana with scrambled eggs and berries and creamed coconut

Daddy pancakes - a bit of a cheat - oats, cottage cheese and eggs - good with marmite.

Tuna and egg mayo with lettuce, peaches, watermelon and pink grapefruit
tarragon chicken, apricots, watermelon and grapes
ham and cheese, lettuce, cucumber and watermelon

We had lunch at an all-you-can-eat Chinese, which was delicious but potentially dangerous!
Zack, my eldest went unbelievably crazy - it's astonishing how much an eleven year old can put away!  Any way - I went a little loopy with the dessert...all in all, 4 slices of watermelon, 4 profiteroles with chocolate sauce, lychees, some pink fruit that was similar to lychees, and a creme caramel!  Lunch was sweet and sour prawns, mixed seafood, cucumber, seaweed and pickled cabbage.

baked salmon, apple, peaches, lettuce and watermelon
with lettuce, avocado and watermelon


This must have been day 8...

Chicken and salad - an easy dinner - just ask for no chips!

Sardines and salad - sparkling water but chocolate crepe for afters!

Orange and almond dark chocolate naughtiness!

One glass of sangria - so delish!

Mixed grilled fish and salad - ask for no chips.

Ready salted crisps...a couple of days running
A mini magnum!  I had two of these on different days.

We didn't eat perfectly but it could have been a lot worse.  We didn't put on weight.  

If you are on a diet and your holiday is the end game, you will undo all your good work and either give up when you get home or have to start again.  Alternatively, see your healthy eating as a lifestyle change that is forever, then holiday should be no different to your normal routine.  You just need to remember to plan and be mindful.